I recently worked, for the first time, with a drawings draftsperson that did all of his work by pencil ... old school. Ultimately he generated PDF files of the work, but the source art is in pencil. I observed something interesting from the interaction with him. He understood that which he drew. He asked a lot of questions in order to gain that understanding. Once he understood the invention, he actually suggested the number of needed drawings and the perspectives of their views ... he ran the show on the drawings.
That experience was different than when working with computer aided drafting people. Their approach can be cell-by-cell. If a long beam in the background of a drawing is interrupted by an item in the foreground, the ends of the beam might not line up in the drawing. They seem to forget that the drawing is to depict a real beam. I think they look at the digital pictures I give them from a cell-by-cell approach ... they consider little areas one at a time and forget to look at the whole drawing.
The guy using the pencil is going to get the background beam straight ... he uses a ruler ... he thinks of the beam and how it passes behind something ... he thinks about how the foreground items partially hide the background items, but the foreground items do not distort or cancel the existence of the background items. He uses a lot of shading that helps one appreciate surfaces and textures and helps the illustration stand out of the page. But then he gets a little cranky when drastic changes are needed ... such as when the inventor faxes in the latest brainstorming improvement idea. If big changes are needed, the guy with the pencil may have to strart over from scratch.
The guy using the computer sees lines and shapes in one cell of the drawing and other lines and shapes in other cells ... he doesn't think of the beam as continuous ... out of sight, out of mind ... as it passes behind the foreground item, the beam vanishes, distorts, or is forgotten. He uses less shading and seems to live in a two-dimensional world where geometric shapes concatenate to approximate a digital photo cell-by-cell ... almost pixel-by-pixel.
I agree with the point of Plex ... the drawings and specification need only enable the claims ... everything else is eye candy. However, I have found myself claiming, upon amendment in view of prior art, details that are shown in the drawings but are not mentioned in the specification. So, the drawings are important from the front end of the project ... upon filing.
The pencil-wielding drawing guy is elderly, and a little cranky, and may be one of the last of his kind. When he says he gets it (as in "yeah I got it ... I understand"), by golly he gets it and the drawings show that he gets it. The younger guys, using computers ... sometimes they say they get it before asking many questions, they just look at the picture I show them and are ready to draw. They don't need to know much about how the invention works. But later, I find myself going through a lot of tedious revisions trying to get them to perfect a perspective view.
I'm not trying to disparage either approach ... I'm just reflecting upon my experience in working with each ... and typing while I reflect.